Disaster Giving: American Express

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Image Source: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images

When natural disasters strike, generous people around the world open their wallets to give to organizations helping victims. Here at JustGive, we are lucky to partner with companies like American Express® who enable their cardholders to quickly provideAmerican Express Logo support.

After the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, American Express reached out to JustGive to find a fast, easy solution for their cardmembers who wanted to help.

Timely Disaster Campaigns

Within 24 hours of each disaster, JustGive launched online fundraisers so American Express cardholders could donate to charities directly providing victims with emergency services, shelter, healthcare and food.

Cardholders simply visited the American Express MembersGive website to donate using their American Express credit card or their Membership Reward points.

JustGive helped American Express identify and vet the key charities aiding victims for each disaster, whether they were U.S.-based organizations offering aid (like the American Red Cross), or other charities local to the region where the disaster took place.

American Express supported its cardholders’ generosity by covering all credit card processing fees. That meant that 100% of each donation made it to the charities making a difference.

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

The result? Hundreds of thousands of dollars from American Express cardholders were donated to organizations helping disaster victims recover and rebuild.

In its one year post-report for the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, the American Red Cross recognized American Express as a member of its Disaster Responder Program for contributing at least $250,000 annually.

In the last decade American Express has provided assistance for more than 50 disasters in 35 countries, through such leading disaster relief agencies as the American Red Cross and International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Doctors Without Borders, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, and the United Nations World Food Program.

We’re proud to make it possible for American Express and its cardholders to respond quickly and effectively to tragic disasters around the world. It’s one way JustGive helps companies make an impact with charitable giving programs for their customers or employees.

– Sarah Bacon

Director of Product

 

 

THE MANY FACES OF HOMELESSNESS: HOW YOU CAN HELP

blog_title_image_homelessnessKnowing how to help a homeless person can sometimes feel difficult, confusing and overwhelming. The dollar you give might be used to buy drugs or alcohol. Even offering food can be a problem – imagine handing an apple to a homeless man and then discovering he has no teeth. Just as there are many reasons people become homeless, there are also many ways to help. Understanding the leading causes of homelessness is often the best way to learn what the homeless need and how you can make a positive difference in their lives. The chronically homeless, who often struggle with mental health or substance abuse issues, need a safe and stable living environment where they can get counseling and health care. To help them, consider volunteering at a local shelter or halfway house that provides longer-term housing. Donating clean towels, pillows and blankets can also help create a comfortable and safe living environment. The majority of homeless youth bw_homeless_teens_21461332have been kicked out of their homes or abandoned by parents or guardians. Others who left on their own accord have suffered physical and emotional abuse at the hands of their families. For many, trusting another adult or authority figure can be difficult. One of the best ways to help is to simply ask them what they need. Maybe it’s a hot meal, a warm coat or a clean pair of socks; or maybe it’s information on how to get into foster care, enroll in a drug and alcohol detox program or register for the GED. Taking the time to listen to their needs, and to follow through, can go a long way in helping them regain their trust in others and get off the streets. imm needs housing homelessFor many veterans, physical disability, mental anguish and post-traumatic stress can make readjusting to civilian life very difficult. This can lead to drug and alcohol addiction, the inability to hold down a steady job and homelessness. Because many veterans have very specific needs to help them get back on their feet—job placement services, medical services, housing assistance, counseling—there are numerous ways to get involved. Consider donating your time or money to organizations which help homeless vets:

While we need to address the problem of homelessness as a whole, the more we can understand each person’s individual circumstances, the more we can help. Before making assumptions or judgments, take the time to ask some questions and do a little research. It can make all the difference. The Face(s) of Homelessness

  • Number of homeless in the United States: 610,042
  • Number of chronic homeless: 109,132 (18%)
  • Number of homeless youth under 18: 380,000
  • Number of homeless veterans: 57,849 (9%)

For more charities helping the homeless with shelter, counseling services and job training.

-Amelia Glynn, Marketing Contractor

Not Just a “Family Matter” – Domestic Violence in the U.S.

Image Source: Flickr

Domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and battering are all different names for the same alarmingly widespread social problem. It affects more people than you think—one in every four people experience abuse—and what we see in the media isn’t the whole picture.

Recently we’ve seen domestic violence news about high-profile celebrities, framed in a typical manner: a male abuser and a female victim. Although every 9 seconds, a woman in the United States is assaulted or beaten, domestic violence isn’t just a problem between women and their male abusers. It affects us all.

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Image Source: Flickr

Domestic violence affects entire families, endangering the safety and mental development of young children. And elderly adults and disabled family members are often the most vulnerable to domestic violence, due to dependence on caretakers and lack of mobility. Family pets are often treated cruelly too. A study from 11 U.S. cities revealed that a history of animal abuse is one of the four largest indicators for potential domestic abusers.

Domestic violence doesn’t only affect women.  More than 830,000 men fall victim to domestic violence every year in the U.S. (National Violence Against Women Survey). Men, women, same-sex couples, and gender variant folks are all victims. Recently, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) survey showed that one in five trans people experienced domestic violence for their non-conforming gender identities.

Intimate partner violence doesn’t begin in adulthood. One in five high school girls has been physically or sexually assaulted by a dating partner. Sadly, eight U.S. states don’t consider a violent dating relationship domestic abuse, leaving teens unable to obtain a restraining order for protection from their abuser.

Domestic violence is closely related to gun violence. While it can, and often does, extend beyond physically abusive behavior to include sexual violence, financial exploitation, stalking, harassment and emotional abuse; tragically, it commonly ends in gun violence. According to an analysis of mass shootings since January 2009 released by the Mayors Against Illegal Guns (a coalition from around the country), “There was a noteworthy connection between mass-shooting incidents and domestic or family violence.” A majority of the mass shootings in the four-year period studied were domestic-violence related.

The epidemic of domestic violence affects every one of us. We need to stop it together. Here are a few resources that help victims, and actions we each can take to make change happen.

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

Resources

The Hotline provides crisis intervention, information and referrals for victims of domestic violence, perpetrators, friends and families. Their toll-free number is available nationwide—helping victims find the courage to act and a local shelter.

The National Domestic Violence Pro Bono Directory lists resources for free legal help for survivors of domestic abuse.

SafeLink is a government-provided safe phone service for survivors.

What you can do to help

Give to organizations that provide resources to survivors and work to end violence:

Image Source: Flickr

For more charities working to end domestic and gendered violence, take a look at this list.

-Alex Mechanic

Service Team Manager

A fond adieu to Kelly after 7 years at JustGive

We have a great crew here at JustGive and many of our team members have been working here for over 5 years.

Today, we said a bittersweet farewell to Kelly, who has worked at JustGive for 7 years. In those 7 years, Kelly has worked or helped out in pretty much every area of the company whether it be marketing, customer service or tech. And she’s always done it with a smile and as we know here in the office, a snazzy ‘do.

Like many JustGive team members, Kelly has a charity registry on our website to help support the organizations that matter most to her.

“I care deeply about bringing awareness to the issue of violence against women —particularly providing services and advocacy for survivors of domestic violence. Check out the inspiring video below and then help me raise money to provide services and advocate for survivors. ”

Kelly, we’ll not only miss your great style, but also your laugh, your big heart, your willingness to help out with anything, your penchant for purple, your inclusion in “dance breaks” and most of all, your dedication to JustGive and what we do.

We will miss you and wish you all the best in your endeavors.

The JustGive team

Help Save Animals—Channel Your Care and Passion into Action.

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We have a 2-year old goldendoodle affectionately known as “Sir Riley Flannigan.” Flannigan for his apricot color, Riley’s a mix of poodle and golden retriever that’s taken a place in my life and heart I could never have imagined.

My family had outside cats and dogs when I was growing up on the farm, but until Riley (who doesn’t shed), my allergies kept me from owning an animal as an adult. Now, sharing every day with such a loving, sensitive, energetic, and smart dog that has comforted me through sadness and sickness– I can’t imagine what kind of person could harm or hurt any companion animal.

We know animals love and remember us, and feel pain and fear. Their eyes and expressions tell us what they can’t say. They’re companions who watch over and protect us. Dogs, in particular, give many humans a new “leash” on life—they guide the blind and visually impaired, improve the lives of autistic children, save diabetics, and give independence to people with disabilities and veterans.

There’s no question our pets miss us when we’re gone—watch Bugaboo show and tell his owner, Lieutenant Gary Daughtery, how happy he is to see him after six months overseas:

http://on.aol.com/video/soldier-comes-home-to-warm-welcome-from-dog-517865377

 

Honestly, the many types of animal abuse and cruelty—what we know, see, read and hear about—can be overwhelming. I sometimes turn away from TV ads and scroll quickly past Facebook posts because they get to me. And I feel pretty helpless to stop all the abuse. There are a lot of issues to tackle.

How do we move past anger and overwhelm about how animals are treated to help save them? We can start with what we see every day and be their voice—using our passion to take action.

Learn and Recognize Signs of Pet Abuse

Pay attention to the animals around you. Are there any dogs you’ve seen chained up for hours on end? Have you ever walked your dog and witnessed another aggressive, out of control one? Or gone by a house where there are so many animals you worry about their care? These could be signs of neglect or violence.

  • Neglect is denying an animal adequate food, water, shelter (a dog house), medical care (injuries left untreaDogted), clean area, socialization (is the animal aggressive or timid when approached by owner), or chained up in a yard.
  • Violence is deliberately torturing, beating, or mutilating an animal.

Speak Up: Report Abuse

Almost all acts of animal violence or neglect are punishable by law. While animal cruelty laws vary from state to state, 49 states have laws that contain felony provisions. (South Dakota is the only one that doesn’t). Be prepared: Search online at Pets911 or PetFinder’s database to find a local animal control department, animal shelter or humane society in your area—and program the number into your cell phone.

If you suspect abuse or neglect of any animal, report it to your local police department or area animal control agency. If you’re traveling, call the local police department (911).

If you know of dog or cock fighting, call The Humane Society hotline at 1-877-TIP-HSUS and report it.

Donate—Support Organizations Working to Stop the Abuse

According to the ASPCA, every 60 seconds an animal is abused. Put your money where your heart is, and give for the education, protection, and care Stray Kittenof animals. (Consider an ongoing monthly gift.) If you don’t know where to start:

While animal issues may seem staggering and even depressing, you and I can take action to make life better for them—to end suffering and save these amazing creatures, one by one.  And the next time I sit with Riley or get a doggie kiss, I’ll feel good knowing I’m doing something to help precious creatures like him.

-Candy Culver

Marketing Consultant

 

One Million Donations and Counting!

blog_title_image_millionWe reached a major milestone in the history of JustGive last week when we processed the one-millionth donation on our website.

Who was behind this auspicious donation? His name is Al Danish, and he hails from Glen Mills, Pennsylvania.

Al made his donation to PathWays PA, a nonprofit dedicated to helping to keep low-income, vulnerable women together with their children by offering programs and services that help families stabilize their lives.

“If my donation can help in a small way, then that makes me feel good,” Al said about helping PathWays.

Al said his role as a grandfather of two makes PathWays’ mission even more relevant to him. “I liked the idea of making a donation for something specific like a case of diapers for a baby,” Al said.

Pathways PA is also a JustGive nonprofit affiliate. Since 2008, they’ve used our nonprofit services to accept donations through their website.

With just a few clicks, PathWays created a customized donation page, allowing their donors to select from a list of suggested gifts like $25 to “provide basic toiletries to a mom in need,” or to enter in any desired donation amount.

“JustGive is a wonderful avenue for our online donors to give in a quick and easy way,” said Fran Franchi, Director of Development for PathWays. “We are so grateful for supporters like Al Danish. Thank you, Al for your continued support of PathWays PA’s mission and congratulations on being the one-millionth donor.”

Al was gracious about his 15 minutes of online donor fame when we first shared the news, saying, “You made me feel very good about helping out with a donation.”

JustGive was one of the first nonprofit organizations to channel the power of the Internet for online giving. Since 2000, we have sent more than $400 million to over 70,000 charities working throughout the world—and every day, we are inspired by donors like Al Danish to create new ways for people to find, learn about, and support virtually any charity, anytime.

Thank you to Al and PathWays PA for helping us reach this important milestone!

 

—Sarah Bacon, Director of Product

Help the Homeless: Think Long-Term

Walking to work in San Francisco, I pass by homeless people every day. They are hungry, dirty and—heartbreakingly—ignored by pretty much everyone. I often find myself wondering: “What is the best way to help them?”

As I saw it (and maybe you do to), there were three main ways to help the homeless:

  1. Give cash, straight from my wallet.
  2. Buy them a sandwich, bag of chips, or coffee.
  3. Donate to a local homeless shelter.

But which option is best? As it turns out, there’s a fourth option.

Think Long-Term

These three ideas are short-term solutions. Providing a homeless person with cash or food helps for a couple of hours. A shelter offers a place for them to sleep for a few nights. But beyond that, what can be done to create a better life for a homeless person?

I recently had the opportunity to talk with two people from Delivering Innovation in Supportive Housing (DISH) here in San Francisco. They work very closely with the homeless population here, and have opened my eyes to another way to end homelessness. It involves long-term thinking and systemic changes.

The problem of homelessness comes from, quite simply, a lack of homes. This population faces a lot of challenges, often including substance abuse or mental illness, which make it difficult or impossible to live in traditional housing. Homeless shelters are short-term opportunities, as is transitional housing. And when there’s nowhere to transition a person to, we need to start thinking more long-term: we need permanent, supportive housing solutions.

What is Supportive Housing?

Supportive Housing is more than just affordable housing. DISH works with the Department of Public Health to provide housing with on-site property management, licensed clinical social workers, and case managers. These professionals deliver access to the medical and mental health resources the formerly homeless need, as well as helping them learn to live with other people (after having been isolated for so long). The goal is, quite simply, to get people healthier and provide them with a place to live—permanently.

According to DISH, most of their tenants are successful once they get in the door.  Some eventually do transition out on their own, looking for a more independent living situation, but most stay in Supportive Housing, and off the streets.

How You Can End Homelessness

Many of the improvements to homeless programs across the country have come from grassroots efforts. Here’s how you can truly help them:

  1. Get involved in your city. The main obstacle to Supportive Housing is a lack of housing. If there are abandoned buildings in your city, find out what the plan is for them. Repurposing empty buildings for supportive and affordable housing is a great goal; it often improves the value of the surrounding area, as well.
  2. Talk to your elected officials – What are they doing to end homelessness? Are they champions for affordable and supportive housing?
  3. Donate to local or national organizations working to provide supportive housing. Here are three of our favorites:

Delivering Innovation in Supportive Housing (DISH)
DISH is a project through Tides Center, and works with San Francisco’s homeless population. They are dedicated to serving adults with complex health, mental health, and substance use issues through supportive housing. Their goal is to end homelessness in San Francisco.
Donate

Corporation for Supportive Housing
CSH is a national organization that helps communities create permanent housing with services to prevent and end homelessness. Their website is a great source for learning more about Supportive Housing, and their “Resources” section can help you initiate change in your area.
Donate

National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
The Law Center was created to prevent and end homelessness by serving as the legal arm of the nationwide movement. They work to change policy, which is an important part of the issue.
Donate

I’d like to thank John Mark Johnson and Lauren Hall from DISH for taking the time to talk with me about this issue.

–Sara Olsher, Marketing Manager

Saving lives, large and small

My family always had pets. Cats, dogs, birds, fish, and a hamster named Lucky. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love animals. I vividly remember my first trip to the shelter. We adopted a kitten, who became my best friend. But I left wondering why we couldn’t take them all home … “Who will take care of them if I don’t?” When I got older, I made my first donation to the ASPCA, and 10 years later I’m still an active member.

Animals enrich our lives in countless ways. They provide security and safety to those with disabilities, comfort and companionship to young and old. A recent article by The National Institutes of Health featured the health benefits of owning a pet.  “The bond between animals and humans is part of our evolution, and it’s very powerful,” says Dr. Ann Berger, a physician and researcher at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Every May since 1915, the Humane Society celebrates “Be Kind to Animals Week.” It has become a month-long campaign to raise awareness about the profound connection between animals and humans. Join me in taking action to protect, defend and celebrate the lives of all animals, large and small. There are many ways you can help:

Give

In response to the current housing crisis, the Humane Society set up a “foreclosure pet fund” to provide financial assistance to pet owners facing eviction. This fund has distributed more than $100,000 to 57 regional shelters and animal rescue clinics. Your $10 or $25 donation helps set up pet food banks, assists with the cost of temporary boarding, and reduces the costs of emergency medical care. Or you can support your local animal shelter, or give to an organization that prevents cruelty to animals.

Speak Up

In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 2 – legislation that will prevent farm animal cruelty, ensure health and food safety, support family farmers, and protect our air and water. I recently called my state representative to urge a yes vote on two important bills – CA A.B. 241, to crack down on puppy mills, and CA A.B. 233, to offer a tax deduction for adopting shelter pets. Find out about current legislation in your state, and vote to give animals a voice.

Volunteer

Every other weekend I volunteer with FOCAS. My local pet store lets the organization set up an adoption center for shelter cats. Even if you only have a few hours a month, Volunteer Match makes it easy to find an animal organization near you.

Teach

Share your love of animals with children, and they will grow up knowing what it means to care and be compassionate towards others. Read through 50 Ways to Save Animals with your kids today and make a difference for animals tomorrow.

Pass the message along to friends with furry, feathered or fishy family.

– Sarah Myers

Program Manager

Home for the Holidays

Thankfully most of us will never know what it’s like to spend a night in our car, find shelter in a park, or not know where we will get our next meal. We identify homelessness with strangers—the man on the street corner asking for change, or the mom and child trying to find shelter to escape violence.

With home foreclosures at a record high, it’s no surprise nonprofits are expecting longer lines for their shelters this winter. Nighttime temperatures are dropping below freezing throughout the country right now, and obtaining a dry, warm place to sleep is necessary for survival.

In 2007, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty estimated 3.5 million people—1.35 million of them children—are likely to experience homelessness in a given year. According to Housing and Urban Development, last year, 1 in every 200 people spent at least one night in a homeless facility. The San Francisco Homeless Services Coalition (a branch of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Coalition) estimates there are currently 35,000 homeless in the Bay Area: thirty percent are families with children, and more than half sleep on the streets at night.

Overwhelmed? JustGive makes it easy to give a little and make a big difference.

The problem of homelessness can seem too big, too far from our homes. So how can you personally make a difference? By donating as little as $10, you provide a safe place to stay, a warm meal for empty stomachs, and dignity and hope for a better future.

Here are several charities in my backyard that are helping the homeless:

· San Francisco Interfaith Council is a network of faith-based organizations “committed to the principles of human dignity.” For the past 19 years, the council has provided shelter and hot meals for the homeless in San Francisco. This year, cold weather shelters will be open from November 23 through February 28.

· The Oakland Army Base provides temporary winter shelter and hot meals for homeless in Alameda County from November through March. The Oakland Army Base Workforce Development Collaborative supplies housing, food, employment, and healthcare to low income residents and the homeless year-round.

· Glide provides three hot meals to the city’s hungry everyday—750,000 meals per year. For some who come to eat, Glide may be the only safe and welcoming environment they experience in a day’s time. In a recent interview for the San Francisco Chronicle, nonprofit leaders state that drastic increases in the need for food and shelter, combined with cuts in funding, are creating “a crisis in the emergency homeless services system.”

How can I help my local charity provide shelter from the cold and a hot meal to families in need this winter?

Search JustGive’s database of nearly 1.5 million charities and find shelters in your city or zip code that would benefit from your donation. Donate to a local charity you know and make a difference for those who otherwise would go without a roof over their heads and food.

Bringing it Home

Know someone having a house warming party? Going home for the Thanksgiving and don’t know what to bring? Make a donation in a friend or family member’s name to an organization that provides help and hope for those without homes. Don’t know what charity to choose? Buy a GiveNow Card and let them select from nearly 1.5 million organizations that make a difference.

Want to spread the word? Tell a friend.